An easy-to-use roaster with some build quality issues.
Positive Product Points
Smokeless. Roasts evenly. Can get a good range of roasts once you figure it out. Overall, a very easy to use product.
Negative Product Points
Questionable build quality - my first one was a lemon. Big and noisy.
The Z&D roaster has a really clever design and some great features. It is truly smokeless - although I put ours in the bathroom and run the bathroom fan when it is on, because it does still produce an odor, if no visible smoke. The auger mixes the beans well so the roast is extremely uniform.
You have a good degree of control over the roast if you take advantage of both factors at your disposal - roast time and batch size. A smaller batch size gives you a faster roast. No, this isn't the same degree of control you get on some of the fancier roasters, but it works fine and gives you the roast range you need. Hearing the cracks over the roaster (pretty noisy - maybe as noisy as the typical exhaust fan over a stove) is tricky but do-able.
Clean-up is not too hard with this roaster. The chaff collector is mostly effective, and I have no trouble getting the rest of the chaff out with a quick dump in a collander. The carafe can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
The downfall of this product is the build quality. I wish they made a version of this product that was a little sturdier/more reliable. On the first version of this product I received, the axle that turns the auger was slightly out of line. Not only did this make inserting and removing the carafe a real pain, but the the auger would occasionally jam and stop spinning. I could hear this happen and correct it, but once it happened while I was out of earshot, and the coffee caught on fire and melted much of the roaster. I'm just glad it didn't burn my house down.
Z&D has contracted out their return policy to another company (never a good sign), but they were very quick to send me a new roaster after I mailed back the old, slagged one. The new one has worked fine - much better than the first one I had. Nevertheless, I remain understandably suspicious of the durability of the product.
Given as a gift, direct from Z&D - no problems. Return of first model, through NESCO, was about as painless as a mail-in return can be.
Three Month Followup
It jammed and the coffee caught fire AGAIN. This time I caught it much quicker, but still, the roaster was ruined. And this time they would not give me another one when I tried to return it.
Unfortunately, with two roasters jamming and catching fire, I can't recommend this product anymore. Fool me twice; shame on me. I will look for another roaster.